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“Do You Endorse Him Or Not?”: Memo To Republicans; If You Endorse Trump, You’re Destroying Your Career

This is not a fun time to be a Republican politician. Now that Donald Trump is the presumptive nominee of the party, you have a choice to make: Do you endorse him or not? The answer should be pretty clear: You don’t.

But before I explain why, let’s first look at the three big reasons you might feel compelled to.

1. He’s the party’s nominee, and that’s what you do. Well, sure. But that’s not a universal rule. And shouldn’t you want to be known as a politician who puts principle over party?

2. The fear of a “stabbed in the back” narrative. If you’re an establishment Republican, you probably believe that Trump is doomed, but that if you turn on him, Trump supporters will blame you for stabbing him in the back. Maybe you fear the rank-and-file will take their revenge or even just stay home in future elections. But this is nonsense. If Trump loses, his insane hardcore supporters are certain to blame anybody but Trump, and especially that amorphous beast known as “the establishment.” Meanwhile, if you want Trump voters to vote Republican, maybe a good idea is, instead of tricking them, propose policies and ideas that support their interests? Crazy, I know.

3. Trump himself. Maybe you’re afraid he’ll call you names and try to get back at you in some way. I get why that’s tough. But you have to look at the other side of the ledger.

Endorsing Trump means having to defend every ridiculous thing that comes out of his mouth. Including ordering the military to commit war crimes. Including maybe nuking people just because he feels like it. Including playing footsie with the KKK. Including defaulting on the U.S. debt. All day, every day.

Maybe you think you can finesse it, by saying something like “I endorse him, but I don’t support everything he says.” Come on. Nobody will buy that. An endorsement is an endorsement. Everybody understands that not every Republican who endorsed Mitt Romney agreed with him about every issue (I certainly didn’t). The reason they didn’t ask those questions is because there were no issues where he deviated from the Republican norm too much, or indeed from the bounds of civilized discourse. As the proudly #NeverTrump Republican strategist Rick Wilson put it, when you endorse Trump, “you permanently inherit Trump’s problems without his invulnerability to them.”

Here’s the thing. Donald Trump will humiliate you. He can’t help it. He did it to Chris Christie. He did it to Ben Carson. (Remember that time Ben Carson defended Trump’s comparing him to a child molester?) He does it to his wives!

And here’s another aspect: You get absolutely nothing out of it. Donald Trump doesn’t need you; he has the nomination. And even if he did, it’s not like Mr. Art of the Deal ever respected a deal in his entire life. If he thinks he’ll need you, he might promise you a lot of things, but there’s no guarantee he’ll keep his end of the bargain. What’s the point of being appointed secretary of everything if you work for an insane maniac and will probably get booted out or will resign in disgrace and/or frustration after three months? But before we even get there, what’s the point of endorsing him in exchange of the secretary of everything position, when you know he promised that job to three other people before breakfast?

Meanwhile, you all but guarantee that whatever election you’re in next after Trump, every ad against you, in both the primary and the general, will feature Trump’s most outrageous statements next to your name and face. His liberal statements for the primary, and his xenophobic, pro-KKK comments for the general. Oh boy, doesn’t that sound great?

After Trump, the political winds he unleashed will not abate, but his personality and brand will remain toxic to everyone except 15 to 20 percent of the country. People who are too closely associated with that brand will suffer the consequences. And meanwhile those who did oppose Trump, and who represent the majority of the party, are putting names into a black book.

In other words, endorsing Trump is a proposition where you have nothing to win and everything to lose. And, hey, I’m not saying you should go full #NeverTrump if your district voted heavily for Trump. Just lay low for a while. Say that you can’t personally support either major party nominee and you’re not telling anybody what to do.

 

By: Pascal-Emmanuel Gobry, The Week, May 17, 2016

May 22, 2016 - Posted by | Donald Trump, Establishment Republicans, GOP | , , , , , ,

2 Comments »

  1. I was struck by all the hoops that various Republicans were jumping through to “endorse” or at least commit to voting for Trump as he vanquished his last two foes. It seems to me that an awful lot cognitive dissonance and motivated reasoning was needed. “You’re Endorsing Who?” (http://wp.me/p7vabV-42) is on The Psy of Life: CalicoJack Explains Life & Everything Using Psychology & Snark (https://thepsyoflifeblog.wordpress.com/)

    Like

    Comment by CalicoJack | May 23, 2016 | Reply

  2. This is sound advice. Trump’s albatross is his thin skin and he will continue to embarass beyond his racism, bigotry and xenophobia. It is all about Trump. P. J. O’Rourke, the Conservative humorist, is supporting Hillary as he knows what he will get out of her and even if he does not like it, it will be in the sphere of normalcy.

    Like

    Comment by Keith | May 22, 2016 | Reply


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